Volunteering Clean Up Day at the Cre8 Community Building
Dear Friends & Supporters,
We are organising a clear-up, fix-up and sort out day at the Cre8 Community Building and we are looking for helpers! A wonderful team from Peaks & Plains Housing Trust have been working hard to repair and renovate the Building which is fantastic and we are very appreciative. We have a new electric system, heaters and (drum roll) hot water heaters! See the photos of the work below. Following this, we’re wanting to give the Building a spring clean and a refresh and are looking for helpers to join us!
When: Wednesday 10th of April and Tuesday 16th of April We’ll be working at the Building between 9am and 4pm.
The Jobs The sort of jobs we need help with on the day are: Lifting / carrying / wheelbarrowing large logs from around the back of the building. (These are free to a good home too as we no longer need them). Deep clean of all rooms Laying carpets / flooring Odd job repairs and fixes both internally and externally Making cakes / lunch and cups of tea and coffee to keep the teams going!
If you’re able to help us out on one or both of the days, for the whole day or just part, please let us know firstname.lastname@example.org or 01625 503740 We are grateful for your support as always
Isaiah 55.1-9; Ps63.1-9; 1 Corinthians 10.1-13; Luke 13.1-9
“Seek the LORD while he may be found, call upon him while he is near; let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts; let him return to the LORD, that he may have mercy on him, and to God, for he will abundantly pardon”
I remember using those sentences from our first reading from Isaiah to open Evening Pray in Wrexham, and I believe them to be very appropriate for today, the Third Sunday of Lent. While the Old Testament lesson is of good news, the epistle and Gospel are much darker in tone.
Let us consider the passage from Isaiah, which at first reading, does not appear to make much sense in today’s world. Who’s ever known anyone going to a super market to buy food without money or a credit card? It is unthinkable. In fact when I compared the Lent Lunch we enjoyed last Thursday to a ‘feast without price’, Veronica was very quick to remind us that there was a basket for donations for the ‘New Kitchen Fund’. So why, and for whom was the passage written? First a bit of explanation. Many theologians reckon that the Book of Isaiah is made up of three books, not just one, and that this passage is most of the final hymn of the portion of the Second Isaiah (chapters 40-55). It dates from the sixth century B.C.E., at the dawn of Persian rule, and it is encouraging exiles living outside of Judah to uproot themselves, and return to a land their generation had never known, so that they could reclaim their ancestral home. Although it was a real event in an earthly world, the Babylonian exile of the Jews was portrayed in Scripture with such moving imagination that later readers saw in it much more than history. It describes in eloquent poetry a practical return from exile in such spiritual terms that it came to be read as describing the spiritual journey of every believer from their various exiles returning to their home in God. To reinforce this, Second Isaiah talks about, the journey: to reclaim the legacy of Abraham and Sarah; to re-enact the exodus from Egypt so many centuries before; and to live out Israel’s role as God’s own creation.
Here in chapter 55 the poet imagines repatriation as welcome to a bountiful feast of satisfying foods, hosted by none other than God. The image of Judah’s land as one “flowing with milk and honey” is implicit in this invitation. So what did people have to do so that they could receive God’s bounty? They must thirst. In other words they must want God’s grace.
Those who are satisfied with the world and its enjoyments, and do not seek for happiness in the favour of God, and those that rely upon the merit of their own works, and see no need for Christ and his righteousness, they don’t thirst. They have no sense of their need. These are not worried about the fate of their souls, and see no reason to seek and follow Christ.
But those that thirst are invited to the waters, as those that labour, and are heavy-laden, are invited to Christ for rest. Note, Where God gives grace, he first gives a thirsting for it; and, where he has given a thirsting for it, he will then give His Grace. For those of you still wondering about food and drink, bread and wine, without money, well these are heavenly gifts that have already been paid for by Christ on the cross.
Moving on, instead of these images of great abundance in Isaiah and in our Psalm, our gospel lesson from Luke has a contrasting image of scarcity. In our gospel lesson, Jesus told a story about a landowner who was concerned about a fig tree that wasn’t growing figs (which is what a fig tree is supposed to do). The landowner wanted to chop the tree down right there and then, but the gardener suggested the tree be given a bit more time, a bit more cultivation, a bit more fertiliser, and a bit more work. The desired result, of course, was for the tree to produce fruit, for the tree to come up with the figs. Jesus then left the story open-ended. We never heard whether the tree came up with the figs, or whether it was cut down a year later. The moral of this little story is that we too are expected to produce fruit, the fruits of the Spirit. In any event, we have this contrast between passages about celebrating abundance and a passage about coping with scarcity.
In our epistle Paul begins his passage on temptation by issuing a series of warnings to the Corinthians on the dangers that might befall the believer through the temptations of this world. And he uses God’s people in the wilderness of the Old Testament as their example. These were people who had claimed the covenant promises of God! They had witnessed God’s presence! They had a visible mark of the presence of God in their midst. By day He led them by a cloud, and by night by a pillar of fire! They had first-hand knowledge of God’s deliverance! They had witnessed the Red Sea being parted, so that they could cross over on dry land! They had the sign and seal of God’s love. They had all been ‘baptised under the cloud’ and had enjoyed the blessing of having a great leader – Moses! They were set apart for God’s service, and they had been called to be servants of God, within His chosen people. They enjoyed spiritual refreshment and sustenance, and through their wilderness journey the Lord had been the source of their meat and drink. Despite all that God had done for them, they rebelled, and God withdrew His blessing from them.
Is it not the same today? Think of all that the Lord has done for us as individual believers and as members of His Church! Have we not been unfaithful and is the church of today, not guilty of backsliding? What lessons can be learnt?
The Israelites were redeemed, they were brought out of slavery, but they were tempted, and they yielded to that temptation and became disobedient to God! Because of their disobedience, God prevented most of them from entering the Promised Land, and they perished in the wilderness! How many bright Christians have ‘perished in the wilderness?’ How many have started off serving God and been enthusiastic about His work and His will, and have fallen into temptation and have become disobedient and useless in the Christian call?
Paul gives a very stark warning about being over confident in one’s self. Here is the scenario. There may be one who is religious, who attends at public worship, who lives a decent and, in their eyes – a God fearing life, but what hope do they have for eternity? Their hope rests only on their religion. They think that it will somehow be good enough so that God will overlook whatever little misdemeanours they may have committed. So they depend upon themselves, rather than on the Lord.
You will remember the story that Jesus told about two men who went to the temple to pray; one was a Pharisee, and the other was a publican. The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself, (that in itself is an interesting phrase!) “God, I thank thee that I am not as other men…” and listed how good he thought he was. The publican instead stood a long way off, and hung his head in shame, and asked God, “be merciful to me a sinner.” And Jesus said, ‘I tell you, this man went down to his house justified rather than the other: for every one that exalteth himself shall be abased; and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted.’ So we need to be constant in prayer, be subject to God’s Word, be humble before the Lord and depend on God every day.
Paul envisages a situation where a believer might actually manufacture his own stumbling block, by failing to fully rely on the Lord! Paul reminds us that temptation is a COMMON experience! Don’t think that you are the only one who has ever been tempted! No temptation is unique to you; someone else had that very same temptation! That very same thought, desire, suggestion! But God is faithful, and will not suffer you to be tempted above that you are able to resist. God in His sovereignty will not permit you to be tempted any more than you can endure!
This is good news for believers. Remember that God is our father, and He loves us and cares for us! When times of temptation come, whom will we trust! Will we rely on ourselves, or will we rely on the Lord? Will we tackle temptation in our way, or in the Lord’s way? Note that SUBMISSION TO GOD always precedes resistance of the Devil! What is temptation all about? It is about the building of Christian Character! It is the method that God uses to make us spiritually strong. It would not be my way! But then we have learned that self-reliance is sinful! This is God’s way! Sankey, the great hymn writer wrote,
“Yield not to temptation, for yielding is sin; Each victory will help you some other to win; Fight manfully onward, dark passions subdue, Look ever to Jesus, He’ll carry you through. Shun evil companions, bad language disdain, God’s name hold in reverence, nor take it in vain; Be thoughtful and earnest, kind hearted and true, Look ever to Jesus, He’ll carry you through.”
The question facing Paul was: will the Corinthians avail themselves, will they accept this God-given way out when they need it? And the question facing us in our increasingly pagan atmosphere of our contemporary world, is: will we put our trust in God and follow him?
The support service for the Macclesfield Food Bank has changed. The organisation “HOPE CENTRAL” has taken over the operation formerly run by “Hampers of Hope”.
THE RED BIN IS STILL AVAILABLE FOR YOUR GIFTS.
We need a variety of non-perishable foodstuffs to add to the store cupboards. For example, milk (UHT or powdered); sugar (500g); long-life fruit juice; fruit squash; soup; pasta sauces; tinned sponge pudding; tinned tomatoes; cereals; tinned rice pudding; tea bags; instant coffee; rice; pasta; instant mashed potato; tinned meat or fish; tinned fruit; jam; biscuits; snack bars. We can also accept personal hygiene products, for example.
Please do not include items with short shelf life or containing alcohol.
Please take advantage of any BOGOF (By one get one free) offers on any items in your weekly shop.
Just think what you yourself would welcome as a life-saving gift of staple foods if you were to find yourself in a similarly desperate situation. Please take the trouble to put those extras into your own shopping trolley when the opportunity arises and bring them to St Oswald’s to put in the RED BIN.
When shopping at Tesco, look out for the times when the blue tokens can be used to support HOPE CENTRAL.
Each Wednesday we’ll be reflecting on one chapter of the book “The Nail” by Bishop Stephen Cottrell. Each chapter is about one character in the story of Our Lord’s Passion. So you can still participate even if you can’t come along every week.
Stop Press! We are very pleased to announce that the Chancellor of the Diocese has now granted us necessary faculty permission, authorising the go-ahead for our proposed Kitchen Development, installing an enhanced refreshment facility within the former main entrance porch, according to our Church Architect’s published scheme.
The plans also incorporate the building of some storage cupboards along the side walls at the west end of the church, the creation of a new fire exit door, and the opening up of increased useable floor space around the area of the baptistry. If you’re interested, the sketch plans are still available to view at the back of the church.
Our Kitchen Appeal Fund
has already benefited from several generous individual donations, plus a designated
gift of £20,000 from the Diocese, being part of the proceeds of the sale of the
former Vicarage. The fund has now had another great boost, thanks to the
generosity of parents, grandparents and friends of pupils at Bollington Cross
School. They recently presented us with a cheque for an amazing £450.00, kindly
collected after their School Christmas Plays, in appreciation of the care and
support offered by St Oswald’s especially in response to the sudden loss of Mrs
Royle, a much-loved Teaching Assistant, at the end of last year.
We will now proceed
with seeking national grant funding to raise the total amount required to carry
out the development works to the best possible standard. We also hope to involve
local contractors in completing the works. Meanwhile we are grateful for all the
promises of support from our local community in helping us meet our regular
outgoing expenses, especially inviting people to join our newly launched
Friends of St Oswald’s Scheme. Our aim is to sustain and adapt our building in
the best way possible so as to continue to serve people locally, as well as in
the wider world, for the forseeable future and
to the best of our ability. As one kind donor has written: “The
last couple of weeks have been such a sad, shocking and unsettling time…You
opened the doors and welcomed us all in with warmth, compassion and
understanding… and brought comfort to so many… We are very blessed to be
able to build our community around St Oswald’s.”
Any donations large or small will be gratefully received and may
be made to the “Anglican Parish of Bollington PCC”. (If you wish to
indicate on the reverse of your cheque that this is intended for the Kitchen
Appeal, please do so.) Thank you for all your support! Watch
For those of you waiting for the pancakes on Shrove Tuesday, or the start of the big Easter Egg raffle, or for others anticipating the start of a new life style by giving up our naughty indulgences for Lent, well we don’t have much longer to wait.
Today we heard three readings which do not seem to have anything in common. The answer is to be found in the Collect, which is a prayer that is meant to concentrate our thoughts on the theme of the day. ‘Almighty God, you have created the heavens and the earth and made us in your own image: …’ So our thoughts are to be on God as the creator and ruler of all.
The first reading is very much about creation, and those of you who worship on Thursday mornings may remember that Veronica also read this section from Genesis to us on St. Valentine’s Day. Some think that the section from chapter 2 is the second of two differing accounts of creation to be found in Genesis. The first chapter of Genesis describes the “six days of creation”, with a seventh day of rest, while Genesis 2 covers only one day of that creation week and gives more detail of the sixth day, when God made man. There is no contradiction, as in the first chapter, the author of Genesis presents the creation of man on the sixth day as the culmination or high point of creation. Then, in the second chapter, the author gives greater detail regarding the creation of man. Genesis 1 records God creating animal life on the sixth day, before He created man, while in our reading the animals are mentioned after man has been created. On the sixth day, God created the animals, then created man, and then brought the animals to the man, allowing him to name them.
Two interesting points can be made. Firstly that while God made our bodies from the dust of the earth, God breathed his life into us. Thus grace in the soul does not come from the earth, but is the work of a loving God. And secondly, God put man in the Garden of Eden, – not in a palace. God supplied all that man would need in the garden but he had to work – to till it and keep it.
We sometimes forget the words of St. Paul to the Thessalonians, ‘He that will not work, has no right to eat.’ And God also gave us free choice. Man could eat of every tree in the garden except one, but as we all know, humankind did chose to eat of the forbidden tree.
Our second reading was from Revelation. Have you ever thought about how you obtain information and knowledge? Sometimes we have to be taught by another, or work hard over days or months to try and understand something, while at other times we might just get a flash of inspiration. I would suggest that John received a vision or a flash of inspiration just like that. As he looks up into the sky, John sees there before him a door standing open in heaven. A voice beckons him to pass through the door: “Come up here, and I will show you what must take place after this.” John is whisked up to heaven where he sees before him a throne with someone sitting on it.
John’s description of what he saw in heaven is, like the rest of the New Testament, true to the classic Jewish principle that “no one has ever seen God”, so he does not name or describe God directly. What John sees is both a throne room and at the same time (because it is God’s throne room) a place of worship. In his day, the prophet Ezekiel saw “a throne of sapphire” and on it “a figure like that of a man”, which he identified as “the appearance of the likeness of the glory of the Lord”
To John the throne represents the power and majesty of the one sitting on it, and everything else he sees is described in relation to this central throne. John describes lights and other thrones, and elders, and lightning, and thunder, and blazing lamps, and a crystal sea, and creatures with a multitude of eyes and wings, who continually said, “Holy, holy, holy is the Lord God Almighty, who was, and is, and is to come”. What started as a heavenly tableau unfolding step by step before John’s eyes now becomes a scene of active worship and proclamation.
The use of verbs in the present tense, and the phrase day and night, give the impression that this is no longer something John saw once in a vision, but a ritual in heaven repeating itself over and over again without rest or interruption. The throne is suddenly alive with living creatures hailing and worshiping the anonymous someone seated on it as the Lord God Almighty. The twenty-four elders continually worship this one who lives for ever and ever, laying their crowns in front of the throne and saying, “You are worthy, our Lord and God, to receive glory and honour and power, for you created all things, and by your will they were created and have their being”.
What are we to make of this reading? I would suggest that this wonderful vision of John, celebrates creation, with God as the creator. And even as we read his prophecy today, John manages to convey a sense that what he saw is something still going on in heaven, so it probably also points to the new creation to come. We may not fully understand this passage, but as John was told in his first vision, “Do not be afraid”, and we too should heed that advice.
This phrase leads to our Gospel reading. The story should be well known as the passage about Jesus taming the storm on the lake, is contained in the Gospels of Matthew and Mark as well as Luke. I don’t know about you but I was very frightened when I was in a small boat in a storm, and if Jesus had been in the boat I would certainly have woken him up! And Jesus would probably have said to me exactly what he asked of the disciples, “Where is your faith?” BUT only after he had calmed the storm. And the disciples realized the truth that their leader, Jesus, could command the winds and waves, and that they obeyed him. They were with the Son of God, who had been there with his father when the world had been created.
So where is our faith? What do we believe?
Some people do not believe in miracles, but I do. I believe that a God who created the world, who sent his Son to redeem the world, and sent his Holy Spirit to work with and uphold the Church, is still very capable of working miracles in our world today. You may say, “Well, I have never seen a miracle.” Miracles aren’t always big. Have you never experienced a coincidence which cannot easily be explained? A near miss, or a chance meeting, or a phone call which changes the course of events? These are times when God is working in secret. Many people have them and we discussed some of them in Faith Hour last week.
Yes! Miracles still happen. You just have to be open to God to see them and accept them.
you for supporting the work of Foxhill House in so many different ways. There
is a sense of gathering excitement as the work flourishes, but all the more
need for a circle of people who are praying in an informed and regular way.
Thank you all for doing this.
we look into 2019 we would like to invite you to the following specific Friends’
Fellowship on Mondays
meet each Monday at 11.30am for Coffee followed at 12noon for a service of Holy
Communion. On the third Monday of each Month we enjoy a light lunch following
the service (Soup, bread and Fruit with Coffee/Tea) £6.00 per person.
Prayer on Saturdays
vital part of the Friends is to pray for the ministry of Foxhill and we will be
gathering on the following Saturdays to pray between 9.30am to 11.00am
finishing with Coffee.
March, 18th May, 4th June, 20th July, 17th
August, 21st September, 19th October, 16th
November and 7th December.
we enjoy Foxhill as Friends we will be celebrating our Daffodils on Sunday 10th
March 2.30 pm to 4.30 pm, with an opportunity to enjoy the grounds and the Daffodils
with refreshments we will conclude with Evening prayer at 4.00 pm.
Fifty Years of Ministry
Foxhill celebrates 50 years of ministry we will gather on the Saturday 20th
July between 2.30 pm and 4.30 pm for a time of celebration and thanksgiving for
the ministry of Foxhill and the Friends.
Quiet Day for Friends
again, we are offering a Quiet Day for the Friends and the 2019 quiet day will
be on Thursday 17th October – the person leading this day will be
announced in due course.
Sunday 15th December – Friends’ Christmas lunch and Carol
service. Lunch at 1.00 pm followed by Carol service at 2.30 pm
these events are designed to support the work of Friends of Foxhill, those who
would like to be Friends are very welcome. Please let other people know about
these events and encourage them to be part of the Friends of Foxhill.
Once in every six years the preparation of new church electoral rolls takes place, which means that everyone had to come off the roll and re-apply. The next occasion for the preparation of new rolls is THIS YEAR.
This means that EVERYONE who wants to be on the electoral roll has to fill in a form this time, EVEN IF their name was on the list before.
The Church Electoral Roll is the parish church’s register of electors and is the list of those qualified to attend and to vote at the Annual Parochial Church Meeting in the elections for the parochial church council and the parish’s representatives on the deanery synod.
Any person entitled to attend the Annual Parochial Church Meeting may raise any question of parochial or general church interest.
If you enrol you become a voting member of the Church of England and so help to ensure that all the synodical councils of the Church – the Parochial Church Council, your Deanery Synod, the Diocesan Synod and the General Synod – are fully representative of its members.